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Top 10 College Wrestling Performances of the Week – Dec. 31st, 2018

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photo courtesy of Nic Ryder; IAWrestle.com

After a light week due to the holiday season, college wrestling was back in full effect. The Midlands took place over the weekend and did not disappoint. Also going on at the same time was the South Beach Duals, where there were plenty of upsets and quality matchups. It was difficult narrowing it down, but here are ten of the top college performances of the last week.

10) Noah Gonser (Campbell)

Noah Gonser made Campbell wrestling history Sunday by becoming the first wrestler in school history to make the finals of the Midlands. Gonser needed to win five matches just for a berth in the championship match. In one of those five matches, Gonser was able to earn a major decision. Noah’s most notable win came in the quarterfinals a 6-1 win over 2018 NCAA qualifier Zach Sherman (North Carolina), who ended up finishing third. In the semifinals against Paul Glynn (Iowa), Gonser held off a late charge from the Hawkeye and hung on to win 1-0. Gonser, an Eastern Michigan transfer, was also a runner-up earlier this season at the Hokie Open.

9) Dylan Wisman (Missouri)

Two years ago, as a freshman, it appeared that Dylan Wisman was off to the start of a solid season for the Tigers; however, he did not qualify for the NCAA Championships and then did not compete in a dual during the 2017-18 season. Since going 1-2 in Vegas this year, Wisman has been on quite the roll. After winning the UNI Open, he picked up three wins in a row during duals with bonus points in each match. At the South Beach Duals, he did have his winning streak snapped by Ryan Preisch (Lehigh), but he did go 3-1 overall. One of those wins was a 14-5 major decision over Andrew McNally (Kent State) who has had a solid season and the final victory of the weekend was a 7-6 win over All-American Max Dean (Cornell).

8) Freshman 149 lbers

Three of the top four 149 lbers in the latest national rankings are seniors, while number one Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) is a junior.  That means there will be a massive drop-off at 149 next year, right. Not so fast. The true freshman that were competing this weekend at 149 have demonstrated that the future is extremely bright and there will be some great rivalries to follow the next four or five years. Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) ended up in third place after dropping his first match to fellow true frosh Jacori Teemer (Arizona State). During his trek back through the consi’s, Sasso defeated three top-20 opponents (Josh Maruca – Arizona State, Henry Pohlmeyer – South Dakota State, Patricio Lugo – Iowa), as well as two-time All-American Alec Pantaleo (Michigan).

After defeating Sasso, Teemer advanced to face top-ranked Kolodzik, who he fell to in sudden victory. Teemer would go on to defeat NCAA qualifiers Khristian Olivas (Fresno State) and Baby J Bannister (Maryland). A third true freshman with two wins over top 20 opponents was Brayton Lee (Minnesota). He knocked off Cole Martin (Wisconsin) and Anthony Artalona (Penn). Artalona is a true freshman, as well. Anthony did not continue after his loss to Lee.

7) Jack Mueller (Virginia)

The initial plan for Jack Mueller’s 2018-19 season was to take a redshirt after competing in the 2018 U23 World Championships. Last week again Missouri, Mueller was brought out of redshirt at 125 lbs, a weight class lower than he competed at in 2017-18. When he last wrestled at 125, Mueller finished sixth in the nation, as a true freshman. This weekend, Jack went 4-0 with three falls and a major decision while leading the Cavaliers to a 3-1 record at the South Beach Duals. That brings Jack’s 2018-19 tally up to four falls in five matches, all of which have come in the first period.

6) Northern Iowa

The Panthers finished in second place as a team at the Midlands with 119.5 points, 64.5 points behind Iowa and 9.5 points ahead of Northwestern. Two UNI wrestlers (Josh Alber – 141 and Drew Foster – 184) captured individual titles. Two others (Max Thomsen – 149 and Taylor Lujan – 174) made the finals. Those points just included wrestlers competing attached for Northern Iowa. They also had a pair of true freshman that are redshirting and had strong tournaments (Kyle Biscoglia 7th 125, Michael Blockhus 4th 141).

5) Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State)

One of the biggest stories from the Midlands was the emergence of Tanner Sloan. Tanner is currently redshirting, but that didn’t stop him from earning a berth in the finals at 197 lbs. His biggest win came in the quarterfinals against fourth-ranked Jacob Warner (Iowa). Not only did Sloan come away with the “W” he did so in style rolling up 19 points in a tech fall victory over Warner. Along the way, Tanner also picked up a pair of wins over redshirts Lucas Davison (Northwestern) and Brandon Whitman (North Carolina). Both were huge recruits for their respective schools, much more highly regarded than Sloan who was from a small high school in Iowa’s smallest classification. Initially, he planned to attend DIII Coe, before settling on South Dakota State.

4) Princeton

It seems like everytime Princeton competes they are setting some sort of school record. Their trip to the Midlands was no different for head coach Chris Ayres. The Tigers entered the tournament never having an individual champion at the event, and they finished with two (Matt Kolodzik – 149 and Pat Brucki – 197). As a team Princeton finished in fifth place with 92.5 points, ahead of number nine Arizona State. The other placewinner for the Tigers was freshman Patrick Glory who was third at 125, losing only to the defending NCAA Champion Spencer Lee (Iowa).

3) Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell)

Though Yianni missed the first three weeks of the season after rehabbing a knee injury, he has shown no signs of rust. At the South Beach Duals, Diakomihalis posted bonus points in two of his three duals for the Big Red. The only regular decision was a win over third-ranked Jaydin Eierman (Missouri). Yianni and Eierman met in the NCAA semi’s last year in a match that he won in sudden victory. Last year at this tournament Eierman handed Yianni his first collegiate loss, which is still his only thus far. Also during the individual portion of the even, Diakomihalis registered three more wins, including two falls. The results from this weekend bring his season record up to 10-0.

2) Alex Marinelli (Iowa)

In one of the marquee weight classes of the Midlands, Alex Marinelli emerged victoriously and had a pair of wins over returning All-Americans. Not only did Marinelli have to fend off two AA’s, but he also survived a challenge that went to sudden victory from Jon Viruet (Brown) in the quarters. After the Viruet match, Alex topped Josh Shields (Arizona State) 4-1 in the semis. The championship match pair Marinelli with second-ranked Evan Wick (Wisconsin). When the two last met at the 2018 NCAA Championships, Wick majored the Hawkeye 16-3. Marinelli was able to flip the script and hand the Badger his first loss of the season 4-3. The win gave Alex his second Midlands crown in as many years.

1) Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern)

TOM’s College Wrestler of the Week – Dec. 31st, 2018

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